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NOVEMBER 2014
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Days of butterflies, days of rage
by Scott Dickensheets & Heidi Kyser | posted October 30, 2014

Orange beauty

Our spring-like fall

See above, photographed by Desert Companion art director Christopher Smith during a ramble around the CSN Charleston campus. Mornings have been perfect lately — I've begun drinking coffee just so I can sit at a courtyard table, sip the stuff and marvel at the soft air. Sure, the forecasters say the mercury will plunge south soon. Fine. For now, I'll weather-hoard these gorgeous days, stockpiling them against the post-election er, chilly times to come. — Scott Dickensheets

 

Hate coverage

Horror and sadness — not love — are what I felt this morning, looking at High Country News’s current investigative feature, “Defuse the West,” by Ray Ring and Marshall Swearingen. But once I’d picked up the package of stories about Bundy Ranch-style confrontations with public lands officials in the Western U.S. over the last four years, I couldn’t put it down. Consider this example:

“A man upset about the seasonal closure of a road in Southern California’s Cleveland National Forest phoned the Descanso Ranger District office and threatened the female employee who answered the phone. He told her that he was going to ‘put a 12-gauge shotgun in someone’s face til he gets an answer.’”

So, what’s to love? The hard work that the scrappy nonprofit news organization put into the package, which includes an interactive map, an expert roundtable and a public forum. The project stems from thousands of pages of documents gathered over the last 10 months through Freedom of Information Act requests to BLM and Forest Service offices from Alaska to Mexico. The High Country News team meticulously culled these into the package’s centerpiece, “Reports from the Front Lines,” comprising dozens of accounts like the one above to make the editors’ case: “There’s more than enough violence and extremism in the world today. Let’s do our part to try to defuse the West.” — Heidi Kyser



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Strip: a poem
by Lee Mallory | posted October 20, 2014

strip shop

strip search

strip tease

strip town

strip down

 

let's go strippin'

trippin'

 

out for sin

out for cards

the wheel 

craps

out for skin

 

strip

in a crowd

in the boulevard mall

down & out

wow!

out for ladies

out for luck 

out to sin

out of sorts

out of patience

out of in

 

strip

strip

 

take 'em down

strip it off

tear it all off

choke it down

don't doubt

in or out

 

holdin' out

findin' out

steppin' out 

strippin' now!

 

strip it off

strip!

strip!

strip!

 



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Another roadside attraction
by Scott Dickensheets | posted October 24, 2014

 

Pots

 

There's a great work of documentary art — perhaps some mashup of journalistic sketch, overheard oral history and maybe lyric poem — to be created out of the humanity flux you encounter at middle-of-nowhere highway rest stops in the American West. "Hey, mom, whatcha doing?" a young girl trills, at the door of a stinking outhouse in the middle of outback Utah. Well, kid, the options are limited. People of every size, shape and human flava pull into these places; few things are as democratizing as bursting bladders and cramped legs. They stretch their car-weary bodies, walk their dogs, drink in the epic vistas … and browse the merch being sold by Native Americans — bowls, jewelry, dream-catchers and more. You wonder, Does this micro economy really work, all the way out here? But the answer must be yes because they're there, year after year, goods spread under the big sky. Just waiting for whomever comes along.



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